Pundits and bloggers across North America all seem to have come to the conclusion that the Colorado Avalanche’s Nate MacKinnon was the best rookie in the NHL this past season, and will likely run away with the Calder Trophy.
As the regular season came to a close, articles were being published from MacKinnon’s new home in Denver to Edmonton to Pittsburgh praising his play and declaring him a slam dunk choice for the Calder. Even the league’s official website, which is supposed to remain as neutral as possible to these sorts of things, hailed MacKinnon as a no-brainer for rookie of the year honors.
If all of this wasn’t a convincing enough indication of who’s name will be called as the Calder winner in Las Vegas this summer, legendary TSN hockey insider Bob McKenzie tweeted about what he heard from 16 NHL coaches on hockey’s latest phenom from Cole Harbor, Nova Scotia.
COL's Nate MacKinnon unanimous for Calder. Well ahead of Palat, Krug, Tyler Johnson. Next group: Monahan, Maatta, H Lindholm, Jones, Kreider
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 7, 2014
If Bob McKenzie tweets it, then it’s gospel. Then again, coaches don’t determine who wins the Calder. The members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association do, and he’s getting no shortage of support from scribes league-wide. McKenzie and several others have already taken to Twitter to share their votes with their followers.
HART: 1. Crosby 2. Getzlaf 3. Giroux. NORRIS: 1. Weber 2. Chara 3. Keith. CALDER: 1. MacKinnon 2. Trouba 3. Palat.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 16, 2014
CALDER TROPHY — 1. Nathan MacKinnon, COL. 2. Hampus Lindholm, ANA. 3. Jacob Trouba, WPG. 4. Frederik Andersen, ANA. 5. Ondrej Palat, TBL.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) April 15, 2014
My No. 1 picks in NHL awards voting: Hart-Crosby. Norris-Keith, Calder-MacKinnon, Byng-O'Reilly, Selke-Bergeron #PHWA
— Shelly Anderson (@pgshelly) April 16, 2014
Ok… Since non of you know Finnish. Hart: Crosby, Norris: Suter, Calder: MacKinnon, Selke: Kopitar. Lady Byng: O'Reilly. @ThePHWA
— Juha Hiitelä (@jhiitela) April 16, 2014
The 18-year-old and No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft recorded 63 points, the most of all rookies in the 2013-14 season. He also led rookies in goals, assists, shots on goal, and finished in a three way tie for the most game-winning goals.
The Calder Trophy only takes regular season performance into account, so even if MacKinnon and the surprising Avalanche collapse in their first round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild, he is still all but guaranteed to end up as the rookie of the year.